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A Successful Gathering of Professionals

ImageThe 2004 European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC) was held in London from 22 until 25 November. Over 4,200 participants from 44 countries attended the four-day event. In total, 255 companies exhibited, there were 300 poster presentations, and 220 speakers and chairmen took part in 40 scientific, technical, business and policy sessions.
By Floris Siteur, Publisher, Windtech International
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{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}The event was clearly a success. The number of attendees exceeded the number at the last EWEC held in Barcelona, Spain, in 2003, which also was a record. This proves that the concept is successful and that the EWEC has earned a position in the many events that are organised for our industry.
Exhibition
The exhibition was well laid out and spread over two halls. The bigger booths were located in Hall 1 where, of course, most of the turbine manufactures presented their products to the audience. Some of them brought a nacelle to the exhibition so that people could experience the enormous size of the devices and investigate the technology used in more detail. Not everybody gets the opportunity to go up into an installed turbine so this was a good second best.

ImageIt is clear that the market for turbine manufacture is consolidating and becoming more competitive. For instance, recently FKI plc announced its withdrawal from this business and has closed DeWind, the German company it acquired in 2002. On the other hand, Siemens has entered the market for turbine manufacturing by acquiring Bonus A/S from Denmark. They both had their own booths in London but I expect that they will promote their products and services in a combined booth at future events.

However, an event like this needs more than just turbine manufacturers to be successful. Most booths were occupied by suppliers for the industry, such as software providers, consulting companies and engineering firms. It was interesting to see that a number of companies exhibiting are fairly new to the industry. For instance Fugro, one of the biggest engineering companies in the world with a strong background in the oil and gas industry, was present at the show. With their extensive experience I am sure they will become a valuable player in the market for offshore wind power.
Offshore Developments
As I said in my Publisher’s Note in the November 2004 issue of Windtech International, the industry is more and more focusing on offshore developments. Such development needs more than just copying the technology used for onshore developments. Several sessions during the conference were dedicated to this topic. During these sessions, the presentations focused not only on the potential of offshore wind power but also on technical developments and requirements resulting from the different and mostly severe conditions. The industry is working on this, but I believe we have a long way to go before we reach the stage we are now at for onshore wind power.
Conference
The conference was held in the same venue as the exhibition. Attendees could easily walk from the exhibition to the conference site and vice versa. During the 4 days, 220 speakers presented their papers in 40 different sessions covering various topics. Besides this there were 300 poster presentations. A proceedings CD-ROM, containing all the information from the four days of the conference (photos, videos, presentations, papers etc.), will be available early in 2005. A free copy will automatically be sent to all conference delegates. If you did not participate in the conference but want a copy, they will be on sale for €100. For more information visit www.ewea.org.
Next Conference
From 2006, the EWEA has decided to organise the event annually, instead of every 18 months as in the past. The idea behind it is that the event will be organised every other year in countries where the wind energy business is less developed to give these countries the opportunity to stimulate further expansion of the technology. I encourage this idea very much because this will have a positive effect on the global progress of the industry and technology. The 2006 EWEC will be held in Athens, Greece, from 27 February to 2 March 2006. In this review it is impossible to give you a complete overview of what was going on and all I can provide is an impression.  Therefore, I encourage you to attend the next event in Athens.{/access}
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